It’s less than two weeks until the RRSP deadline for 2016 contributions. A couple of things you should remember and consider:
If you’re in debt, focus on paying off your debts, instead of savings. I’m not saying take the next decade with that, but stop everything else and get a single-minded focus on paying off your bills. Then go back and start with all that money you’re no longer paying to your car, line of credit, or credit card and start saving with amounts nobody else can match.
If you just put your RRSPs into savings, you’re getting maybe half a percent interest. That isn’t going to work. There’s something called the Rule of 72. Take your return divided by 72 and that’s how long it takes for your money to double. So at half a percent, it’ll be 36 years. Better returns such as at least 8% will double your money in nine or so years. Of course, your age, how often there’s time for the money to double, and how much risk you can tolerate versus your age, other assets, and when you need the money matters a lot.
A big question is why don’t people invest properly and just put it into savings.
Researchers in California some years ago, led by Sheena Iyengar, set up tables to sell gourmet jams in front of a grocery store. One booth had six different jams available, the other had a wider selection of 24 jams on display and available for tasting. The purpose of the experiment was to determine whether quantity to choose from had any impact on how many sold. And did it ever – but in the opposite way: 30% of those who stopped at the six-jam booth made a purchase, but only three percent at the bigger booth made a purchase of some kind! We prefer to make quick decisions but that becomes impossible with 24 selections so we freeze and don’t make a purchase (or decisions) at all. The same holds true for investments. People want a choice but not an over-whelming choice or people will freeze and “think about it” without making a decision at all.
But then – not making a decision is still a decision.